Your Book Publicity & Marketing Mantra

In last week’s Savvy Sunday News, I mentioned Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, creators of the Chicken Soup for the Soul brand and series of books.I shared their formula, or mantra, about doing five things every day to publicize and market your book. It’s a good, solid piece of advice that I hope you will take to heart. You can certainly do more than that each day, but make a vow to not do less.

Jack and Mark offer these additional five suggestions that I’m passing along here. They are brilliant marketers and you can be too, particularly if you take to heart these five ways to promote your books nonstop. Just one caveat: when Jack and Mark began this process, they didn’t have all the Internet tools at their fingertips that we do now, so as you’re reading, remember to update in your mind with the tools we can use now, and count yourself lucky that you can use them!

1. Believe in your book — even when no one else does

Do you know how many times Jack and Mark heard the word “no” before finally finding their small publisher, HCI?  

140 times. 140 rejections as they continually heard that “anthologies don’t sell,” but do you think they quit? 125 million copies sold later, obviously the answer is no. 

How many times does each of us try something before giving up? If you’re having a tough time finding your audience, keep going. Each rejection is simply giving you feedback that your messaging, the way you’re going about it, or the audience you’re trying to reach isn’t quite right… yet. 

As “woo woo” as it may sound (and I like a little woo woo, myself), holding a mental picture in your mind of what success will look like is one of the things that Jack and Mark did to keep themselves going. They actually took a cover of their own book, clipped off a New York Times bestseller image from another book, and pasted it on their own book cover. (This was before the days of easily swapping out graphics.) This simple illusion put a strong vision of success in their minds. They believed in themselves and their ideas. Even when doubt wanted to sneak in, they were vigilant about not succumbing to it.

You can do the same. When things get hard, before you lose hope with your own book’s success, visualize what success would look like. Paste it not only in the mental hallways of your mind but on the walls and mirrors of your home too. Put it as the background photo on your phone or laptop. Remember, until your book actually is a New York Times bestseller, keep those visions of success for your eyes only. 

Now before you’re tempted to snort, “What a load of New Age crap!” remember that they have sold millions and millions of books. Chicken Soup for the Soul was a household name. Who can argue with that kind of success?

2. Promote your book at every opportunity, no matter how small

If you graph most people’s rise to success, you can clearly show the pattern of their rise.  It starts with someone saying, “I will do any media opportunities at any time of day or night.” Then, when they become more established and more successful, things begin to change a bit. I start to hear comments such as, “Oh, I think that media opportunity is beneath me now,” or “I’ve grown beyond this.” Never mind that those smaller venues helped them to create the success they desired when they needed it. I always cringe when I hear those words. 

One of the things I love about Jack and Mark is that they never said no to an opportunity. Not once. An interview in the middle of the night? No problem. Armpit, Nebraska? Okay! It didn’t matter if it was the New York Times, a small station in Decimal City, Wyoming, or an itty bitty podcast with only a handful of listeners: they always said yes. Even after having enormous success, selling millions of books and getting huge speaking fees from all around the world, they never said no. They understood the magic of only one person hearing the message and buying the book. That stance alone helped make them successful (and made everyone working with them love them even more.)

3. Be consistent with your book’s promotion

With the success of their first Chicken Soup for the Soul book, Jack and Mark quickly did a second. Then a third, then another and another and another; each book built upon the platform of the first and each sequential book added more and more numbers to the next book’s success. Stopping promotion was never part of the equation. It was never the game plan. It was never even discussed. They understood the need to continually get the message out there. 

This brings us back to the mantra: Do five things every day to promote your books. They grabbed onto that mantra and never let up. They ran with that idea as if it were a message from on high. Never a day passed in which they didn’t find five promotional things to do. Sometimes they’d do five radio or podcast interviews; sometimes it would be a combination of bookstore visits, media blasts, and a speaking engagement. It didn’t have to be five major things to do but it did have to be five.

Ask yourself this question: What five things could I do every day to promote my book? You can do all kinds of media and a lot of it right from the comfort of your own home. Webinars, Facebook live shots, Zoom interviews. The variations are endless and most don’t even require travel.

4. Team up with others who are as determined for success as you are

This can be a spouse, a friend, your book publisher, your tribe, your street group–whatever you want to call it. This support can mean the difference between pushing through the slow days of building momentum, or quitting. Having others who not only believe in what you’re doing but also are committed to being on your team will help you push through with high energy, creative thinking, and passionate implementation. 

They can also be a kind of focus group and give you feedback on ideas before you take them bigger, essentially saving you from trying things that in the end might not work, and saving you time and money in the process. Now, what is that worth? 

5. Continue to adjust and amplify your vision of success

What happens when you reach each of your goals? Celebrate. Absolutely! If you can’t enjoy your success, what is the point? But then it’s time to create a new goal that’s bigger and better. Something that inspires you and makes you excited to get out of bed in the morning. Success is the best motivator for more success, so go for it.

Start by creating a goal that is big enough to be exciting but small enough that you can reach it by applying some effort. Don’t make your first goal pie-in-the-sky, impossibly difficult, or one that will take a long time to achieve, or else a part of you will have a hard time believing it’s possible. Find goals and visions that inspire you and that you believe you really can achieve.

Additional Tips

Those are the five tips from Jack and Mark for promoting your books. Along with taking a vow to do five things every day, here are three additional tips: Keep it fun. Keep it simple. And keep at it. 

I know it looks like some people have overnight success, but I promise you, it took time to set the stage for them to enjoy their success. You can do it too! I’ll be the first one to say it.

To your success!


P.S. If you don’t have a copy of my Publicity Cheat Sheet yet, perhaps now is the time to get it. You can grab it here. Let me know what you think!

# Mantra | # Jackcanfield | # Markvictorhansen | # bookmarketing | # bookpublicity

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